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Notes from WSU’s scrimmage

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The defense recorded 12 sacks during WSU's scrimmage of 115 plays or so on Saturday, but the offense got its licks in, too. In other words, it was standard fare for a mid-spring scrimmage. Read on for a whole bunch of words about it.


Maybe it just felt this way because this was an actual scrimmage — WSU only ran 40 or so plays last week — but there seemed to be much more rhythm between quarterbacks and receivers. Jeff Tuel said as much afterward, saying the receivers answered Mike Leach's challenge to be more physical, and he said that for the most part, they were all on the same page with each other today. Leach said he liked the effort, but that the team still isn't as sharp from an execution standpoint as it needs to be. “I thought we were pretty physical, we’ve done a good job as far as the physical part of it I think,” Leach said. “We haven’t battled effort a lot, I think execution, that’s where we really need to improve the most is just executing, everyone playing together. We pretty much have our whole package on them. We’re checking at the line of scrimmage on top of that.” … In Leach's offense, the Cougars will very rarely — if ever — use a huddle, and they're working toward that now. This scrimmage was a lot more up-tempo than we've seen in practice so far. … As for the sacks — Xavier Cooper, who had three of them, gave most of the credit to the secondary, which he said was the reason why the defensive linemen were able to get to the quarterback. Leach also said the team's cornerbacks have played well recently. I asked him if it was hard to balance his frustration over the offensive line giving up that many sacks with his happiness that the defensive line is coming along. Here's what he said: “I think it’s both. We’re trying to protect the quarterback. Obviously if it’s live and we’re letting them hit him, those all aren’t going to materialize into sacks. For what we need and for our work, we want to keep them off him. I do think with our blitzes and twists and some things, I thought it was good.” … Defensive line coach Joe Salave'a said his unit is still a “work in progress,” and that he's more worried about getting their alignment and technique where it needs to be than he is about the number of sacks they had Saturday. “At one point, it used to be a madhouse up here. You didn’t want to come play here because it was tough, it was hard, it was cold, it was everything,” Salave'a said. 'We’ve got to get our guys to understand that there is a degree of responsibility and pride in wearing the crimson and gray.” … There was a series midway through the scrimmage, with the No. 1 units facing each other, during which Tuel was sacked on three consecutive plays. The starting offensive line (which featured, for the most part, from left to right, John Fullington, Gunnar Eklund, Elliott Bosch, Dan Spitz and Rico Forbes) was then forced to perform about 15-20 up-downs. Then the No. 3 units took the field, and quarterback Jesse Brown was promptly sacked two more times, giving the defense five consecutive sacks. Logan Mayes, who had the last of the five, wound up finishing with four on the day. He worked with both the No. 2 and No. 3 units at defensive end and buck linebacker. … The offensive line spent its post-practice session doing bear crawls across the width of the field, then partaking in Leach's famous “rolling” drill. That didn't look fun. … Anthony Carpenter filled in for Tyree Toomer at safety with the No. 1 defensive unit. … Dominant as the defensive line may have appeared at times, the offense turned in a number of big plays. Two of Tuel's first six completions went for 40 yards, the first to Marquess Wilson on a leaping catch over Damante Horton, the second to Andrei Lintz, who shucked a tackle and juked safety Deone Bucannon before being dragged down inside the 20-yard line. … Bobby Ratliff had a nice day with the No. 1 unit, too, catching five passes for 74 yards and a 26-yard TD pass from Tuel. We spoke with Ratliff a little bit afterward for our Sunday video profile. … Gino Simone was the most popular receiver, catching seven passes for 101 yards and a touchdown, which came on a 43-yard pass thrown by David Gilbertson on an inside seam route. … Tuel completed 19 of 33 passes for 253 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Gilbertson went 15-26 for 192 yards and a touchdown. … The longest play of the scrimmage was a 51-yard touchdown pass from Cody Clements to Isiah Myers down the right sideline for a touchdown. … Jordan Pu'u Robinson had a nice day from his defensive end position, recording a sack, a tackle for loss and a blocked extra point. … Connor Halliday was there, but didn't wear pads and didn't take any reps. … Rico Forbes seemed to play just about every snap at right tackle. Not sure if he actually did or not, but he was out there with the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 units for quite a while. … OL Jake Rodgers was wearing a walking boot and had a crutch with him. OL Matt Goetz had a brace on his left leg.

Here are the stats taken by the athletic department:

RUSHING

Leon Brooks              2-3

Teondray Caldwell    2-5

Kyle Lappano             5-23

Manuel Lamson        1-8

Marcus Mason          3-9

Carl Winston             2-6, TD

PASSING

Jeff Tuel                     19-33-253, 2 TD, 1 INT

David Gilbertson       15-26-192, TD

Cody Clements          8-12-108, 2 TD, 1 INT

Jesse Brown              4-7-34, 1 INT

RECEIVING (Only Players with multiple catches or a TD)

Bobby Ratliff              5-74, TD

Gino Simone             7-101, TD

Marcus Mason          3-13

Marquess Wilson     2-51

Bennett Bontemps    2-28

Andrei Lintz               5-88, TD

Isiah Myers                4-64, TD

Mansel Simmons     4-47

Rahmel Dockery       1-11, TD

Blair Bomber             3-55

Kristoff Williams       2-45

Carl Winston             2-0

SCORES

Lintz 3-yard touchdown catch from Tuel

Dockery 11-yard touchdown catch from Clements

Simone 43-yard touchdown catch from Gilbertson

Ratliff 26-yard touchdown catch from Tuel

Myers 51-yard touchdown catch from Clements

Winston 3-yard touchdown run

FIELD GOALS

Michael Bowlin – 28 yard attempt – muffed

Andrew Furney – 38-yard attempt – good

Andrew Furney – 33-yard attempt – good

Wes Concepcion – 33-yard attempt – good

INTERCEPTIONS

Mitchell Peterson (Clements)

Kyle McCartney (Brown)

Daniel Simmons (Tuel)

All for now.

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple


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